Fluorite & calcite
description: LOCALITY: Shangbao Mine, Hunan Province, China 3" across Ex Professor Stephen Smale collection This piece was traded from Steve Smale during a visit to Hong Kong in November 2013. The Shangbao Mine produced some of the finest specimens of fluorite in existence and high quality Shangbao fluorite specimens are coveted by every fluorite lover. This wonderful specimen consist of a string of five fluorite crystals complimented by off-white, opaque calcite crystals. The piece is a floater since the specimens shows no evidence that any part of it was contacted with any host rock or other mineral crystals. This piece is also differentiated by its intense color. This specimen glows neon purple even without back lighting. For clarity, this piece was NOT back lit when this photo was taken. A criticism that some "ultra wealthy" collectors (who normally mainly want to buy mineral specimens that are fist sized or larger) is that this piece is not of remarkable size. However, all of the cabinet sized Shangbao fluorite specimens that I have seen consist of clusters of crystallized fluorite on a matrix that accounts for a significant portion of the overall size of the specimen. Hence, they lack the "economy" which my illustrated piece possesses. It is of interest that the Shangbao Mine is now closed and unless specimens are poached by artisan miners at night, it is unlikely that any more fluorite will be mined at Shangbao, Shangbao produced around $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 (at retail) worth of high quality fluorite specimens between 2009 and 2013. The peak of fluorite specimen production was during the early 1990's.

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